Venezuela should be rich, but its government has destroyed its economy

imrs2Since I lived in Venezuela in the 1960s and have blogged about it in the past, I was surprised to find an article at the Wonkblog about the Venezuelan economic crisis. I am surprised anyone cares right now. The chance of a political solution appear slim. Venezuela will fix its problems in 2015 but it will not be civil. Here is the leading line from the article.

The problem with socialism isn’t that you eventually run out of other people’s money. It’s that you eventually run out of oil money.

What’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell (English version)

Last year I reminisced about Venezuela in the 1960’s and lamented the constant decline under President Chávez. His time in power was a lot of sizzle but no steak. For a country with so many advantages it was hard to believe they could screw up so consistently year after year. I was hopeful that a new administration might take the opportunity to start fixing some of the problems. Fixing the electrical power outages and getting bread on the shelves would be a good start. I think the people want to be more like Chile and Brazil rather than Cuba. I don’t think Cuba wants to be like Cuba anymore! Venezuela has been down for so long almost anything would seen as an improvement. I did not think for  a moment that this administration could be worse than the previous but then we see this video. Oh, well!

Hugo Chávez Dies and Venezuela Moves On

I have more than a passing interest in Venezuela. In the 1960’s I lived there for three years. In the 1960’s Venezuela was the shining light of South America. It was not only prosperous but it had its first successful democratic elections. There was a growing middle class. A good description of the economy would be the statement made famous by President Kennedy, “A rising tide lifts all boats”. The job opportunities and life style for the average Venezuelan were better than the rest of South America. Since President Chávez assumed power, the country has been in constant decline. You can describe his time in power as a lot of sizzle but no steak. There have been food shortages and power outages that can only be attributed to government mismanagement. Although the Los Angeles Times headline says, “President Hugo Chavez, hero to Venezuela’s poor, is dead”, he has not been very good to the poor if his policies failed to put food on the shelves. Maybe this time they will get a president and government who are more competent.